It is estimated that the average American household will spend approximately $2200 or thereabout on energy bills alone, year in year out. That’s a whopping $12000 in 5 years or roughly. This is a significant figure of money to flush down the drain, especially in a day and age when a majority are struggling with a severe cash crunch. Fortunately, they are various, practical and non-cliché ways you can cut back this figure. Forget everyday old-and-tired advice such as ‘remember to switch off the lights as you leave a room.’ The real gem is found in targeting and re-evaluating you heating expenditure.
Follow these 5 tips to prevent your home from wasting money on heating costs.
Continuously Improve Your Home’s Insulation
A huge chunk of your annual energy bill, around 55%, is accumulated during the coldest months of the year. As we all know, this is the time when we are forced to leave our heaters on throughout the day and night in a bid to keep the biting cold away. However, this is only because our homes tend to lose as much warmth as soon as it is generated.
Improving the thermal insulation of your home is the first step to reducing the flow of your heat/energy or even completely stop it. They are several ways to do this: For starters, if the attic is unfinished, it is far less expensive in the long run to upgrade the insulation than to pump extra money in heating costs. Also, fill any wall cavities with properly installed cellulose, fiberglass and foam insulation.
Use Less Hot Water
Let’s face it, most of us have the habitual tendency to prefer using warm or hot water if given a choice. But according to statistics from the U.S Department of Energy, this accounts for about 20% of your total annual energy bill. You can re-direct this money back to your savings account by only using hot water if you really have to. Use cold water to launder your clothes and limit the time you spend in the shower. This alone will knock off about $500 from your annual bill.
If for some reason, you cannot do without heat throughout the year, consider investing in solar panels to take some of the load off the main grid. This way, you can enjoy the luxury of hot showers at your convenience without having to worry about a skyrocketing bill.
Replace Furnace Filters Regularly
Dirty or clogged furnace filters restrict airflow making it hard for your A.C equipment to keep your home at conducive temperatures. It is not surprising that most homeowners rarely remember to service and replace these filters regularly as per the recommendations of the manufacturer. As a consequence, a lot of energy is dissipated when the furnace has to work extra hard to maintain a smooth flow of air.
In similar tandem, look into replacing your current faucets and bathroom plumbing. You can find high-efficiency toilets to cut down on water costs and shower heads to replace your conventional plumbing.
Improve Your HVAC system
Improving or upgrading your HVAC system can cut back your energy consumption by about 20 to 30% depending on which state you live in. In line with this, replace your old generation thermostat with the new programmable model. According to a recent Energy Star analysis, making good use of such a thermostat can help you save at least $180 per year.
Speaking of thermostats, after upgrading your HVAC system, set the new programmable thermostat in the vicinity of 68 degrees. This way, your heating system will ordinarily consume less energy which, of course, translates to a smaller energy bill.
Still, on improvements, it also pays to upgrade your conventional incandescent bulbs to LED light bulbs. Yes, the initial cost might seem expensive, but the extra dollars saved over the life of the lightbulb will be several times this amount.
Replace or Upgrade Your Windows
If you haven’t yet installed window coverings, do this at your earliest convenience. It might look like a minor improvement, but it can save you a significant chunk of your bill. During winter the winter evenings, close the window coverings to retain the heat and during the day close those that don’t receive any direct sunshine to keep cold drafts at bay.
While you’re at it, if the windows are leaky and old, replace these with energy-efficient versions such as newer double-glazed versions. Other good alternatives here include storm and weather stripping windows.
Elizabeth is on the content team for Dynasty Partners, which builds high quality, architecturally rich homes with innovated designs. She enjoys decorating homes, hiking, hanging out with her family, and volunteering at the animal shelter in Des Moines, Iowa.